Class 8 Truck Orders Continue to Improve in September

October 04, 2017 by Clarissa Hawes

Orders for new trucks in the heaviest Class 8 weight segment continue to outperform last year’s sales, increasing month-to-month and year-to-date.

Motor carriers ordered 22,100 Class 8 trucks in September, a 7 percent gain from August and a 62 percent increase compared with the same month a year earlier, FTR Transportation Intelligence reported Tuesday.

Total orders for the North American market over the past 12 months have totaled 239,000 units.

“The recovery in the Class 8 market is building and we saw that with the orders through the summer,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR.

Orders are expected to jump in the fourth quarter, Ake said.

“This is a healthy, growing truck market, which is in excellent position for greater expansion in 2018,” he said. “Stronger freight growth generated by a more vibrant U.S. economy will spur demand for additional trucks next year.”

A pending mandate that forces truckers to have electronic logging devices, or ELDs, in their cabs by Dec. 18 is expected to increase demand for new trucks.

The ELD devices link to a semi-truck’s engine, capturing the movement and recording how much time a trucker spends behind the wheel. By law, drivers are limited to 11 hours of daily driving. The industry believes the rule will spur driver retirement, especially among independent truckers who object to the regulation. This will prompt larger fleets to expand truck capacity to haul the available freight, Ake said.

Manufacturers took preliminary orders for 190,238 Class 8 trucks during the first nine months of this year, a 42 percent increase compared with the same period a year earlier, according to ACT Research.

A broader set of North American truck orders – Classes 5-8 trucks – improved to a three-month high in September and hit a 27-month high when seasonally adjusted, said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research.

New orders are expected to come in at about 43,500 trucks for September, a 27 percent increase compared with the same month a year earlier.

Manufacturers in North America ordered 20,900 trucks in Class 5 through 7 weight segments in September, up 2.1 percent over the same period a year ago.

However, net orders for Class 5 through 7 trucks remained below “first-half of the year activity levels,” according to the ACT Research report.

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